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South West Rocks

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North Coast

South West Rocks is a small coastal town adjacent to the Macleay River mouth, it surrounded by natural beauty and has an interesting colonial heritage.

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Location

South West Rocks is 455 km north of Sydney (5 hr drive). It is equidistant from Port Macquarie in the south and Coffs Harbour in the north, being a 70 min drive to either. The nearest larger centre is Kempsey 32 km (30 min drive) from South West Rocks.

The town is bordered by Trial Bay to the north, Shark Island and Macleay River to the east, and Hat Head National Park to the south, making it surrounded by natural beauty.

How to get there

The closest airports to South West Rocks are Coffs Harbour Airport (70 min drive) and Port Macquarie Airport (60 min drive).

Coffs Harbour Airport is serviced by Fly Corporate (flights to Brisbane), Tiger Air (flights to Melbourne and Sydney), Qantas (flights to Sydney) and Virgin Australia (flights to Sydney).

Port Macquarie Airport is serviced by Qantas and Virgin Australia who operate daily services to Sydney. Virgin Australia operates direct services to Brisbane and Qantas operates seasonal summer services (October - May) from Port Macquarie to Lord Howe Island.

Population

South West Rocks is home to approximately 5,000 people and the median age of residents is 57 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up more than 5% of the population.

 

Healthcare facilities

The closest hospital to South West Rocks is Kempsey District Hospital (35 min drive). It is a level 3 rural hospital, with 81 beds, 10 of which are used for voluntary mental health patients. The hospital provides a 24 hour emergency department that is staffed by local GPs VMOs supplemented by career medical officers. Surgical services include general, gynaecology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, dental, day surgery, urology, elective and emergency caesarean sections at a designated level. There is also the University of New South Wales Rural Clinical School within the hospital. Kempsey Community Health Centre provides an extensive range of community health services.

There is an Ambulance Service of NSW station in South West Rocks.

Accredited GP practices

  • Mitchell Street General Practice
  • Seascape Medical Practice
  • Trial Bay Family Practice

  • Industry

The major industry sectors employing residents of South West Rocks are: aged care residential services, supermarket and grocery stores, primary education, accommodation and cafes and restaurants.
  • Education

There is one public primary school in South West Rocks - South West Rocks Public School (K-6). The nearby regional centre of Kempsey (30 min drive) offers a number of private and public primary and high schools.
  • Childcare

In South West Rocks there are two pre-schools while in nearby Kemspsey there are numerous childcare options including long day care, family day care, pre-school and out of school hours care.
  • Shopping

South West Rocks has an IGA and Coles supermarkets, and a range of boutique and specialty stores, cafes and restaurants. Nearby, Kempsey is home to well-known national retailers including Coles, Woolworths, IGA, Aldi, Target Country and Big W.  
  • Places of worship

In South West Rocks there are places of worship for a range of Christian denominations including Anglican, Assemblies of God, Australian Christian, Baptist, Christian New Life Centre and Uniting churches. There are additional of places of worship in Kempsey and a Buddhist centre located in Port Macquarie.
  • Points of interest

In 2016 South West Rocks was named the best city or town to visit in NSW by the Traveller.com.au guide, largely due to its stunning natural environment. It is also regarded as one of Australia’s best diving and fishing spots. However, the town is not only known for its natural environment but also the heritage sites of the Trial Bay Gaol built in 1886 and Smoky Cape Lighthouse built in 1891. Events in South West Rocks and surrounds can be found in the Macleay Valley Coast Events Directory.
  • Sporting activities

There is a range of sporting facilities, sporting clubs and teams in South West Rocks including rugby league, little athletics, soccer, croquet, AFL, golf and surf life saving. Additional sporting options are available in nearby Kempsey.
  • Community groups and activities

South West Rocks is home to a variety of community and service groups including the South West Rocks Dune Care, Rotary South West Rocks, South West Rocks CWA and South West Rocks Lions Club. Contact details for community groups throughout the Kempsey Shire are available at Community Services Directory - Kempsey Shire.
  • Social media groups

There are many social media pages and groups dedicated to life in South West Rocks. Good places to start are the Facebook pages South West Rocks Pin Board, South West Rocks Film Society, South West Rocks Markets events & happenings, South West Rocks ROCKS! and Kempsey Shire Council.